|Pura Belpre Award 2011
Ryan, P. (2010). The dreamer. New York, NY: Scholastic Press.
This is an historical fiction book about Chilean Nobel Prize winning poet Pablo Neruda (his pen name) and his childhood as Neftali. Pam Munoz Ryan's story is inspired by Neruda's work. Neftali was certainly a dreamer and saw the wonders of the world with different eyes than most. Everyday things intrigued him and his imagination worked overtime. His father was overbearing to the point of being cruel. He wanted Neftali to "Stop that incessant daydreaming!" and said things like "Do you want to be a skinny weakling forever and amount to nothing?" (p. 10) He wanted Neftali to study hard to become a doctor or a dentist. Neftali is interested in words. He adds them to his vast collection of trinkets. Neftali grows into his own and becomes a writer even when his beliefs differ from that of the government which infuriates his father. After reading this book, a good conversation could be had about the freedom of speech and allowing writer's to write with differing views and opinions.
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